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Sexual predator ordinance discussion continues in Dassel
March 28, 2016

Bruce Strand
Correspondent

DASSEL, MN – City attorney Kurt Greenley and the Dassel City Council discussed a proposed sexual predator ordinance March 21.

The sexual predator ordinance issue was raised in case it’s ever needed, Mayor Jeff Putnam said after the meeting, adding that it’s routine for cities to do so.

Greenley said many cities adopt ordinances restricting where convicted sexual predators may reside, but after studying the city maps three times, he couldn’t find any locations isolated enough.

He added that this might not be the correct approach anyway because “studies have shown that there’s no relation between resident restrictions and re-offending.” It’s speculated, he said, that offenders are more likely to travel some distance from home to repeat their crimes.

Instead, Greenley recommended the ordinance should focus on restricting sexual predators’ proximity to children, vulnerable adults, or whomever their victims were.

He also asked that time be set aside at the next meeting for further discussion. The Monday, April 18 meeting will start at 6 p.m. for this issue, and the regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

Millenials discussed

Kyle Ackerman, president of the Economic Development Agency, noted that many millenials are not staying in Dassel because “they don’t like houses and cars like we do, and they like to eat out three or four times a week . . . and they like bike paths,” so they’d rather live in places like Maple Grove.

Millenials are generally defined as young people born between 1980 and 1995.

“When baby boomers like me are selling our houses, there won’t be enough millennials to buy them, and that will be a problem,” Ackerman said, and asked the council to “keep millennials in mind” in going about their business.

Museum update

Museum Director Carolyn Holjie reported that the recent play “Plain Hearts,” by Dassel Community Theatre, about Swedish immigrant farmers in the 19th century, sold out all seven nights and had the extra benefit of bringing people to the museum who became interested in the exhibits.

She announced that a woodworkers exhibit featuring 27 individuals with local ties, some of them nationally recognized, will open Sunday, April 17.

A baseball exhibit is planned for late August, when Dassel co-hosts the state amateur baseball tournament with Litchfield.

The Discover Dassel Arts Tour is slated for Saturday, Oct. 22.

Putnam commented that there’s “a lot of cool things coming up,” and recommended they be listed on the museum website.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved the purchase of a Kubota lawnmower for $21,975, using $15,000 already budgeted, plus $2,000 from water funds, $2,000 from sewer funds, and $3,000 from surface waters funds.

• acknowledged Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak for completing 20 years on the job.

• heard an update from city engineer Chuck DeWolf regarding improving safe routes to schools, and improvements to curb and gutter at three locations to fix the problem of flooding yards during heavy rain.

• accepted the low bid of $13,800 from DRC Inc. for demolition of the former Masonic Lodge building (which was purchased by the city for use by the fire department)

• accepted the low bid of $950 from Perfect Paint to paint the community room at the Dassel History Center.

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